I’m Jannika Julin – a chronic illness warrior and eternal seeker of optimal health and happiness. I’m also a content creator, branding and social media strategist and a success coach for other entrepreneurs suffering from health issues.
Here, I share my journey in discovering how to create my dream life and live as healthy as possible despite my disabilities.
I have a chronic illness called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It’s an inherited connective tissue disorder causing serious multi-systemic symptoms. The main symptoms include abnormally flexible joints (hypermobility) that may easily become dislocated, and excessive fragility of the skin, blood vessels, and other bodily tissues and membranes. This leads to chronic pain, fatigue, dysautonomia, digestive issues etc. It’s not a life-threatening condition, but it’s progressively disabling. It’s been a long journey to learn how to live fully and fulfill my dreams despite this condition.
I was diagnosed in 2016 when my health collapsed after a long period of increasing health problems and disabling symptoms. Even though I had already had many warning signs and serious symptoms years before the final fall, I didn’t take those seriously enough to slow down my busy lifestyle. I was running a digital media and video production company which was rapidly growing. At the same time I was taking care of my grandmother who suffers from Alzheimers and my other family members while we were all trying to survive from the loss of my father. Hardships piled up and in 2015 my bank made a serious mistake which affected my company’s financial standing. The bank decided to cover up the matter without compensating or even admitting the error. The struggle and stress followed by that made me neglect my health even more.
In early 2016 my back gave up, I lost almost all my muscle strength, my digestive tract stopped working properly and my whole autonomic nervous system seemed to go crazy. I wasn’t able to move much, let alone work and run my business. Every minute was a battle with intense nerve pain, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. It began a hazy period full of doctors, examinations and medications. Lots of physical therapy and occupational therapy. And, above all, lots of fear. Everything around me was suddenly collapsing and I was too ill to do anything about it.
When I found out that the illness I have is incurable and progressive, I really couldn’t see much light anymore.
It took serious soul-searching, major lifestyle changes, lots of meditation, huge steps in personal growth and support and guidance from some amazing people to finally find that light again. I realized that despite the fact my illness can’t be cured, it’s completely my own choice how I’m going to live with it. I also discovered that the thing limiting me the most wasn’t my illness after all, but my mind. My fears and my insecurities. The pain and fatigue were just feeding my fears big time.
When I learned to notice the effects of my mindset, I also learned that it’s possible to change it.
I started to dream again. Envision my future. Instead of focusing on my limitations and the things I couldn’t do, I started to think about the things I wanted to do. Things that gave me joy and strength. I started to envision my dream life and I wanted it to be as healthy as possible, filled with joy, freedom and happiness. I further wanted to encourage others to take control of their own health and well-being too.
The next step was to find out what it takes to get there. What steps do I need to take. For me those steps have included shedding off lots of poisonous habits, prioritizing my health and well-being and changing my mindset and way of thinking. After that my life started to change rapidly.
I started Chronically Janni to share the knowledge and inspiration that sprouts from this journey, so that it can perhaps empower others to go after their dreams as well.